Last month we featured the island of Langkawi, Malaysia, with details on the marinas and check in procedures. This month we give more of an insight into some of the best anchorages the islands have to offer. From the Kilim River and “hole in the wall” on the northeast corner to the lake of the pregnant maiden in the south and the nearby island of Pulau Payar we explore some of the 99 islands hidden gems.
Approaching Langkawi from the north most boats will head straight to either Telaga harbour or the Royal Langkawi Yacht Club to check in but for those in less of a hurry there are two great anchorages to spend the first night in Langkawi.
On the northwest side is the beautiful horseshoe shaped Datai bay which is a great overnight stop in the southwest season but in strong northeast winds you will need to keep close to the east side of the bay which is made tricky by the reef on that side. There are two five star hotels overlooking the bay which welcome visiting yachts.
On the northeast side of the island inside the Kilim River is an anchorage known as “the hole in the wall”. Enter the channel between Langkawi and the island of Pulau Langgun and look for the opening that will appear on the west side of the channel. The entrance is around 60 metres wide at its narrowest point and then opens up into a large protected anchorage that extends up to three quarters of a mile with depths of around 4 metres. Take your tender a short distance up the channel on the west side of the anchorage to a floating fish farm and restaurant for diner and in the morning you can feed sea eagles up the eastern channel. Rahmad at the fish farm can provide suitable if smelly food to tempt them.
The waters around Langkawi are not good for snorkelling but the island of Pulau Payar, a little under 20 miles southeast of the Royal Langkawi Yacht Club has clear water and good snorkelling. East Marine divers who are based at the RLYC run daily dive and snorkelling trips to the islands. The RLYC renovations are progressing well and the new facilities are due to reopen in November.
After Langkawi island itself the second largest island in the group of 99 islands is Pulau Dayang Bunting. On the southwest side of this island is Tasik Dayang Bunting or the lake of the pregnant maiden which legend says bestows fertility on couples seeking to start a family. The fresh water lake is reached by a short path from a small pier. To overnight in this area move a little south to the charming monkey creek, a channel behind the small island of Pulau Gubang Darat.
On the west coast of Langkawi is the island of Rebak, which is where you will find the third marina of the island group. It is very popular with cruising yachtsmen, and has a good restaurant in its resort. Due east of the marina entrance is the pretty beach of Pantai Cenang. There are good restaurants ashore on the beach and the road that runs behind it as well as money changes and basic provisioning shops. The beach is very flat and you will need to anchor at least half a mile from the shore.
These are just a few of the possible overnight stops available on Langkawi, so the next time you visit plan to stay a few more days and explore some of what the jewel of Kedah has to offer. Detailed pilotage notes and diagrams of the anchorage can be found in The Southeast Asia pilot.